Hey. What’s up?
No. Too casual. Too indifferent. Too obviously indifferent. So obviously indifferent as to be intentionally indifferent. She needs to be indifferently indifferent.
Hey. <smiley face>
Too obviously not indifferent. Too obviously obvious. Too desperate.
That would be un-obviously indifferent. Indifferent enough that he might start to wonder what happened to her. He might realize how nothing his life is without her. He might start to realize how much he misses her. Yes. He’ll start to realize how much he misses her and he’ll text her that he misses her and she can respond two days later with who is this or I miss you too or—nothing.
But the opposing argument to all this, of course, is that in saying nothing he’ll start to realize that his life is perfectly fine without her. He’ll probably find someone else. He’s probably already found someone else. He obviously must have found someone else since he hasn’t texted her by now. She’s already been ignoring him for hours. He’s probably met someone exactly the opposite of her and has fallen in love. He’s probably met someone exactly like her, but a little bit different, and fallen in love. He’s found the one because she’s been ignoring him and he’s in love now and about to get married and before she knows it he’ll have two children with this woman who is exactly like her, but a little bit different. And his kids are probably tall. Tall and beautiful and living in a two-million-dollar townhouse in Manhattan. He’ll forget her if she says nothing so of course she has to say something. She can’t say nothing. She can’t not say something. But she has to say something that won’t be so obviously something.
Hey. Think I left an earring at your place.
Yes! So obviously utilitarian. Desperate without seeming desperate. So indifferent. But not indifferently indifferent. The perfect opportunity to see him. The perfect opportunity to bend over and dig through his couch cushions and climb into his bed—but that’s too obviously desperate. Too obviously wanting to see him and dig through his couch cushions and climb into his bed. Too obviously utilitarian as to be desperate. She has to want to see him without seeming to want to see him. She can’t need him, not even for her own earring. No. She can’t need him at all.
Hey. What’s up?
Maryann Aita is a writer and performer in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in PANK Magazine, which earned her a Best of the Net nomination, as well as The Porter House Review, The Exposition Review, Press Pause Press, and other journals. She has also performed her one-woman show, My Dysfunctional Vagina, at the People’s Improv Theater and venues around New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @maryann_aita